You can’t ignore numbers when you’re talking conversion rate optimization (CRO). Data on what’s happening with your website and marketing initiatives drives future developments, strategy and campaigns.
But which numbers are the most important? Here are five areas that you can’t ignore if you want to get the results and conversions you expect from your website and marketing.
1. Social Media
You’ve got to love social media. It’s made it possible for brands to connect with their customers and to share everything from silly cat pictures to serious analyses of a particular market. But there’s no point in using social media if you don’t do something with the data that it provides.
Looking at your social media stats has much more to offer than fan and follower numbers. Dig a little deeper and you can learn much more about the people you are targeting and find out what you can change to improve conversions.
A key question is what people are engaging with on your social media profiles.
You can certainly get this data from the analytics built into Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, or you can use external tools to crunch the numbers. It’s a good way to find out which of your posts do best on Facebook (I’m willing to bet there’s a photo involved) and which tweets are resulting in retweets and mentions.
There’s similar data on other sites, including Google+ ripples to show you how social posts spread. These stats allow you to connect with real people and potential influencers whose involvement could boost the success of any initiative. And the numbers will help you find out where you could optimize content so it’s more successful.
Of course, it’s not just about how your content performs on social media. If you’re talking conversions, you also need to look at how social media works to bring traffic and attention back to your website and landing pages—and how well it primes them to take action when they arrive.
That’s where the second kind of data comes in.
2. Web Analytics
The data you get from web analytics software like Google Analytics and others keeps getting richer. You’ve always been able to see which pages people land on and how they got there, enabling you to track the success of marketing and promotional strategies.
Returning to social, the data you get shows you how your content is being shared socially and which social media sites are most effective for you. That’s a good addition to the data coming from the social sites themselves.
But there’s more. Analytics data can answer important questions about your audience, traffic and content—and more. I love the visitor flow view in Google Analytics, and I imagine most marketers do, because you can track which initiatives brought people to your site and what they did (from page to page) when they got there.
It’s about how people move through your site and it’s valuable information. The ability to cross reference data means you can tell whether they found what they were looking for or went away empty-handed. That can help you identify pain points to address when optimizing your site for improved conversions.
3. Mobile Analytics
While we’re talking analytics, one section that’s worth paying special attention to is the mobile analytics data. Mobile is the future of customer interactions. We already know that mobile users are more likely to make a quick buying decision, but they are also more likely to leave if your site isn’t geared for their needs.
With mobile analytics, not only can you see what kind of devices people are using, but you can find out bounce rates, entrances and exits for people using mobile devices, enabling you to figure out whether your mobile site really works. You can also check out the mobile report in Google Webmaster Tools for a quick idea of whether you have work to do in this area.
Get mobile right and you can build a loyal customer base among this growing group. To keep conversions ticking over, optimize your site, address mobile UX fails, and test to see where you might be losing your audience.
4. Customer Surveys
Did you know that customer surveys can help you get data that you won’t get by any other method? It’s one of the best ways to find out exactly what your customers are thinking by taking you beyond social, web and mobile analytics to let your customers speak directly to you.
An article on Unbounce shows how you can use a tool like Qualaroo to find out what is stopping your prospects from converting and what you can optimize to stop that from happening.
It includes sample questions you can use to make the most of this method. Another good option is using a Google Consumer Survey to address not just customer satisfaction, but trends, brand prominence, product development and more.
5. User and Usability Testing
ConversionXL expresses it well: “Website usability testing helps you identify all the main sources of friction, and thus boost conversions.”
In other words, find out how real people interact with your site and you can spot the possible problems. The truth is if your site is hard to use and people can’t find what they are looking for, there’s no incentive for them to stick around.
Although we’ve looked at the different types of data separately, they are very much intertwined. That means if you really want to boost conversions, you need to look at all of them together. Examples highlighted on User Testing show how powerful the combination of analytics and testing can be (something no-one would argue with at Crazy Egg).
Tracking and analyzing the data from social, web and mobile interactions and including customer surveys and usability testing will give you a holistic picture of how your online presence is working both for your customers and for you.
What data gives you the best feedback?
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.